Friday, April 29, 2011

ramble: research books bought & read, April 2011

This month's list of the non-fiction and classics I've read and bought is heavy on the latter. For, alas, the local symphony just held its annual secondhand book fair to raise funds and to torment all nearby bibliophiles.

So, as my lair-slash-library, the Bookcave, requires regular feedings of paperbacks and hardcovers (or it demands human sacrifice instead), I... bought more than fifty books.

(Hey! It's self-preservation! I must satisfy the Bookcave! I don't want to get eaten!)

So now I have no money 'til, oh, the end of time or thereabouts, but--totally worth it.

I think my haul ended up about two-thirds non-fiction/classics and one-third fiction (lots of fantasy/paranormal novels), but I'm just listing the former. As usual, since I don't finish (or even get very far into) books I don't like, the 'books read' part of this undertaking is really a list of recommendations; the 'books bought' bit is pure adventure.

Off we go:


Research Books Read, April 2011
  • Below the Peacock Fan: First Ladies of the Raj by Marian Fowler (Penguin, 1988) This is an absolutely beautifully written exploration of four nineteenth-century aristocratic British or American women and their experiences in India. The author is adept at both sketching their lives and providing cutting insights into the racism, classism, and sexism of their time and place.
  • The Age of Scandal: An Excursion Through a Minor Period by T. H. White (Oxford University Press, 1950 [rpt 1986]) Yes, that T.H. White. I loved this jolly little book about eighteenth century Europe (mostly England). It's a commentary on gossip, but also a book of gossip. Mr White is crotchety, chatty and catty. It's just awesome. I acquired this from my mum; good luck to her in getting it back. (No, never mind, it's okay; she said I could have it!)
  • Tesla: Man Out of Time by Margaret Cheney (Dell, 1981) I've been interested in Nikola Tesla, and this book, while almost too exhaustive for me (listings of patent numbers?!), is a fascinating study. I acquired this from my dad; good luck to him in getting it back. (He said I could borrow it; maybe he'll forget I have it...)

Research Books Bought at the Massive Secondhand Book Fair, April 2011

* Poetry
  • English Poetry of the Mid and Late Eighteenth Century ed. by Ricardo Quintana and Alvin Whitley (Alfred A. Knopf, 1963)
  • The Faber Book of Irish Verse ed. by John Montague (Faber and Faber, 1974) All the way from the earliest medieval to the modern day.
  • Selected Writings of William Blake ed. by Robert F. Gleckner (Meredith, Crofts Classics, 1967)
  • The Poems of Dante Gabriel Rossetti (Oxford University Press, 1913 [rpt 1959]) "Poems and translations, 1850-1870: together with the prose story ʻHand and Soul.'"
  • The Pre-Raphaelites and Their Circle ed. by Cecil Y. Lang (University of Chicago Press, 1975 [2nd ed.]) Anthology of poetry and paintings.
  • The Works of Sir Walter Scott; The Works of Christina Rossetti; The Works of Algernon Charles Swinburne; The Works of W.B. Yeats (all four are Wordsworth editions, 1994-1995) My favourite poetry editions are these, published in the 1990s by the Wordsworth Poetry Library. I also have Byron, Keats, and the Brontë sisters, and will hopefully continue to find more from the WPL series, because they're wonderfully done.
* Mythology, Folklore & Fairytales
  • The Quest of the Holy Grail trans. by P.M. Matarasso (Penguin Classics, 1969 [rpt 1981])
  • Arthurian Romance: A Short Introduction by Derek Pearsall (Blackwell, 2003)
  • Guinevere by Norma Lorre Goodrich (HarperCollins, 1992)
  • The Mabinogion: A Facsimile Reproduction of The Complete 1877 Edition by Lady Charlotte Guest (John Jones, 1977) I am very excited about this. Not because Lady Guest's translation is very good (it's not, and she leaves out all the juicy bits) but because I LOVE facsimile editions!
  • The Djinn in the Nightingale's Eye: Five Fairy Stories by A.S Byatt (Vintage, 1995)
  • A Book of Fabulous Beasts: Old Stories Retold by A.M. Smyth (Oxford University Press, 1939 [rpt 1949]) Including barnacle geese!
  • Silver Birch, Blood Moon ed. by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling (Avon, 1999) I love this series: anthologies of fairytale retellings by modern fantasy authors. I'm trying to get them all, so this was a welcome find.
  • Twice Upon a Time ed. by Denise Little (Daw, 1999) An awesome little anthology of fairytales retold from the perspectives of the villains, secondary characters, etc.
  • British Folktales by Katharine Briggs (Pantheon, 1970 [rpt 1977])
  • The Myth of the Goddess: Evolution of an Image by Anne Baring and Jules Cashford (Arkana [Penguin], 1993)
* Classic Literature
  • Anthology of British Women Writers from the Middle Ages to the Present Day ed. by Dale Spender and Janet Todd (Pandora, 1990)
  • Middle English Romances ed. by A.C. Gibbs (Northwestern University Press, 1966 [rpt 1988])
  • The Portable Renaissance Reader ed. by James Bruce Ross and Mary Martin McLaughlin (Viking, 1953 [rpt 1967]) Love this series--cute, compact little anthologies of snippets of important texts from different time periods. I also have the Elizabethan Reader and the Age of Reason Reader, so I figure I should keep collecting them.
  • Short Fiction of the Seventeenth Century ed. by Charles C. Mish (W.W. Norton & Co, 1968)
  • Joseph Andrews and Shamela by Henry Fielding (World's Classics: Oxford University Press, 1980)
  • The Awakening and Selected Stories by Kate Chopin (Penguin Classics, 1986)
  • Victorians on Literature and Art ed. by Robert L. Peters (Prentice-Hall, 1961) A collection of essays on such things as "The Shaping of Art" and "The Public Voice" by late-19th-century authors and critics including John Ruskin, Oscar Wilde, William Morris, and lots of others.
  • Fanny: Being the True History of the Adventures of Fanny Hackabout-Jones by Erica Jong (W.W. Norton & Co, 1980 [rpt 2003]) I really don't quite know where to file this extraordinary novel, but I think it fits best here, as it aims to mimic the style of 18th-century amatory fiction (one of my favourite genres), but with a modern feminist's insight. I'm so excited to finally have a copy and to finally read it.
* Biography
  • J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography by Humphrey Carpenter (HarperCollins, 1977 [rpt 2002])
  • The Dragon Empress: The Life and Times of Tz'u-hsi (1835-1908), Empress Dowager of China by Marina Warner (Cardinal, 1974)
  • Innocent Traitor: A Novel of Lady Jane Grey by Alison Weir (Ballantine, 2006) This is historical fiction, but Alison Weir is a wonderful historian and biographer too, so I have no doubts about how awesome this will be.
  • My Wars are Laid Away in Books: The Life of Emily Dickinson by Alfred Habegger (Modern Library, 2002)
  • Jane Boleyn: The True Story of the Infamous Lady Rochford by Julia Fox (Emblem, 2009)
  • Mary Wollstonecraft: The Outstanding Biography of a Brilliant and Radical Woman by Claire Tomalin (Penguin, 1992 [revised edition])
  • The Warrior Queens by Antonia Fraser (Viking, 1989) The full subtitle is "From Britain's Queen Boadicea to Elizabeth I, from Catherine the Great to the twentieth-century triumvirate of Meir, Gandhi and Thatcher--the paradox, the politics, the legend and the lives of the sovereign women who have led their nations in war" which pretty well says it all.
  • The Queen's Necklace: Marie Antoinette and the Scandal that Shocked and Mystified France by Frances Mossiker (Phoenix, 1961 [rpt 2004])
* History
  • Kings and Queens of Early Britain by Geoffrey Ashe (Academy Chicago, 1982 [rpt 1998])
  • A Treasury of Royal Scandals by Michael Farquhar (Penguin, 2001) "The Shocking True Stories of History's Wickedest, Weirdest, Most Wanton Kings, Queens, Tsars, Popes, and Emperors" -- um, yay!
  • Inventing the Victorians by Matthew Sweet (Faber and Faber, 2002) I am beyond excited to read this. "Delving into such Victorian passions as advertising, interior decoration, sex scandals and serial killers, Matthew Sweet shows us that we are not so far removed from the Victorians as we would like to think."
  • The Tower Menagerie: The Amazing 600-Year History of the Royal Collection of Wild and Ferocious Beasts Kept at the Tower of London by Daniel Hahn (Tarcher/Penguin, 2004)
  • Legends and Lies: Great Mysteries of the American West by Dale L. Walker (Forge, 1999)
* Odd/Old Books
  • The Broken Spoke by Edward Gorey (Dodd, Mead & Co, 1976) I love Gorey's work and buy ANYTHING that bears his name. I think this is a first edition, so that's very exciting!
  • Shorter Novels of the Eighteenth Century: Rasselas, The Castle of Otranto, Vathek (J.M. Dent & Sons, 1903 [rpt 1948]) Everyman's Library no. 856. A very nice wee hardcover (Everyman's Library made good stuff) with Gothic novels by Johnson, Walpole, and Beckford.
  • The Odes of Horace: the Latin Text with Conington's Translation, in Two Volumes: Vol. II: Books III & IV (G.P. Putnam, 1900 [Ariel Booklets]) A lovely small red leatherbound book, with rough-cut pages gilded along the top. It's a facing page translation, which I would have killed for back when I was studying the Odes in Latin and wanting to die.
  • The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (George G. Harrap & Co/Riverside Press) A little slim hardcover, delicately printed in black with decorations in a pale ochre, with numerous tiny exquisite watercolour prints set in at intervals. I am in love with it, especially with the illustrations. I haven't yet been able to figure out when it was published, though. It's kind of an enigma and it's clearly going to take more research!

Research Books Bought at Bookstores, Because of Course I Went to Them Too, April 2011
  • Final Exits: The Illustrated Encyclopedia of How We Die by Michael Largo (Harper, 2006) Bizarre and morbid, just the way I like it.
  • Woman as Hero in Old English Literature by Jane Chance (Wipf and Stock, 2005 [reprint]) Thesis research.
  • The Bloody Chamber: And Other Stories by Angela Carter (Penguin, 2011 [reprint]) Finally, finally found a copy of this book--and it's a beautiful new edition with a gorgeous cover, too.

Previous Lists: January-March 2011


* Bookplate image via The Graphics Fairy (modded by me, obviously)

No comments:

Post a Comment